GRAND PRAIRIE -- Fittingly, the artist who performed the first pre-Super Bowl concert in North Texas was also one of the last.
Country superstar Faith Hill, whose performance at Bass Hall nearly a year ago set in motion the events leading up to tonight's big game in Arlington, joined forces with rocker Chrissie Hynde and the Pretenders for a live episode of CMT's Crossroads on Saturday night at a sold-out Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie. For those unfamiliar with the show, it pairs musicians from different corners of the music world -- Taylor Swift and Def Leppard, for example -- and sees what results. When it works, the occasional series beautifully underscores similar sensibilities, not to mention the thin line between rock and pop and what Nashville sells as "modern country."
Billed as "CMT Crossroads Live from Pepsi Super Bowl Fan Jam," the hourlong set was broadcast live on the cable channel, which, as Thursday's opening Fan Jam concert with Kid Rock, Duran Duran and Jason Derulo proved, makes it difficult to sustain any sense of momentum.
Not that anyone truly noticed: The energetic crowd, plied with free food and liquor, was more than happy to indulge the cameras and responded to the hit-heavy eight-song set with copious cheers and vigorous applause.
Added to the stop-start nature was Hill and Hynde's truly awkward chemistry: Whether it was the peaches-and-cream Hill trying to snarl her way through the Pretenders chestnut Middle of the Road, the set opener, or watching rough-and-tumble Hynde struggle mightily to overcome the goopy sappiness of a Hill hit like Breathe, something about the union just felt off (particularly during a video segment, in which Hynde, who makes her home in London, admitted that she couldn't care less about American football. Whoops.)
Nevertheless, the pair, backed by a sprawling band, gamely tried to make the best of their live Crossroads episode, bantering with each other and polling the audience on who should win Super Bowl XLV. It was a Packers-friendly group, although Hynde, willful as ever, muttered "Steelers" under her breath before launching into Back on the Chain Gang -- just another amusing display of defiance on a night meant to be neat and effortless.